Memories in clay: ceramics exhibition inspired by artist’s childhood

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    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Hite Art Institute presents “Ar-ti-fact” a new body of work by Todd Burns, associate professor of ceramics, which explores childhood memories through stoneware watering vessels.

    This series consists of 11 slab-built, stoneware vessels in steel wire baskets that reference 19th and early 20th century watering cans. The surfaces have been distressed to suggest they are as old as the memories they represent.

    Each piece chronicles Burns’ experiences from the summers of 1975-1980 in the rural town of Mankato, Ks. Burns recently started gardening again, which renewed childhood associations such as swimming in his hometown pool.

    “Each piece reflects on a different experience from the summers of those five years. Some are simple reflections on sensual experience while others are reflect on life changing experiences, including a house fire and being thrown from a bee-stung horse,” Burns said.

    Burns’ process included firing the vessels in a high fire glaze and then sandblasting the surfaces. They were then glazed with a low fire glaze, fired and sandblasted again. The vessels’ palette is comprised of primary and saturated colors to convey the childlike perspective of memories from which they are derived.

      Burns teaches a number of upper and lower level ceramics classes at UofL. His work has been cited numerous times in ceramics publications and shown in galleries around the U.S.

    The exhibit runs Aug. 12-Sept. 24 with an opening reception 5:30-7:30 p.m. Sept. 8 in Schneider Hall Galleries. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri. For more information, contact Hite Art Institute’s Gallery Director, Chris Reitz, at chris.reitz@louisville.edu.

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    Niki King
    Niki King Jones is positive she has the best job at the University of Louisville, serving the communication needs of the departments of fine arts and theatre, the School of Music, University Libraries and Alumni – all the fun, creative stuff. Before coming to UofL in 2015, Niki held communication positions in both private and nonprofit sectors in Louisville, Ky., including at Heaven Hill Distilleries and the Jewish Community of Louisville. For 10 years prior, she was a reporter at various newspapers across the country, most recently The Courier-Journal. Niki graduated from the University of Memphis with a BA in journalism and has a masters degree in community and leadership development from the University of Kentucky.